May 2010 Archives

As of today, Spanner Wingnut is in stable, fully-functional condition.

The remaining sedated blogs will be preserved in their last Blogger-created state until further customization achieves that level where Movable Type cloning of Spanner Wingnut can be done without risk of burdensome retrofitting to maintain consistency.    

Ideally, future modifications of the multiple-blog layout and presentation styles will be accomplished by simple adjustments to mutually-shared custom templates.


 

[2010-07-04T20:58Z cross-posted from Spanner Wingnut as part of capturing a coherent history on nfoCentrale Status.  This also provides more Windows Live Writer cross-posting confirmation.]

Spanner Wingnut is now fully functional.  Format customization and authoring/maintenance improvements can now begin.  This is the foundation for all next-generation nfoCentrale blogs.

At this point,

    • Spanner Wingnut is operating as the second Movable Type blog implemented on nfoCentrale.
        
    • Comments and Trackbacks are fully functional
         
    • A stock Movable Type template is in place with no customization beyond basic layout choice and identification of some categories.
        
    • The previous, Blogger-generated Spanner Wingnut posts and archives are preserved in their entirety:

There is more to do.

Spanner Wingnut now becomes the laboratory for further customization of blogs, including

    1. Setup of Windows Live Writer for authoring
         
    2. Customization of Templates and use of plug-ins as a basis for cloning further blogs that are currently dormant
        
    3. Confirmation that a second blog under the same domain (e.g., orcmid.com) can be created and operated successfully, now that multiple domains are working.

This update supercedes the fledgling status and the progression of difficulites that are now resolved

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[2010-07-04T21:26 updated to use blog development categories and provide more history for the Movable Type configuration effort.]

After a number of mistaken changes to mt-config.cgi that ultimately had my Movable Type dashboard fail to come up properly, I managed a set of changes that work for blogs whether under the main site, such as this one, and whether under other sites, such as Spanner Wingnut on orcmid.com.

Here are the final working settings:

F10xx96-2010-05-29-1948-mt-config-0.08.pngWhat I did was remove any ##-comments at the ends of non-comment lines.  Those are not recognized as comments.  I also shrank the white space between the name of the configuration settings and their parameter values.

Since I had attempted so many different changes before I figured out how I was going wrong, I don't know which of the mt-config.cgi changes were necessary to have comments working for Spanner Wingnut.  They appear to be sufficient and I am keeping it this way for now. 

I will also symbolically link at least cgi-bin/mt/ and perhaps mt-static/ into every domain in which I bring up other Movable Type blogs.

Having accomplished Plan B, for now, I will look at customization of templates for Spanner Wingnut.  I also want to see what it takes to hook up Windows Live Writer.

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[2010-07-04T19:06Z cross-posted from Spanner Wingnut as part of development-history cleanup and confirmation that images still work when cross-posted through Windows Live Writer.]

As part of Plan B, I arranged for orcmid.com/cgi-bin/mt/ and orcmid.com/mt-static to be implemented as symbolic links to the places where those Movable Type materials are located on the web-hosting GNU/Linux account.

This required access to the account via PuTTY and operating in the command-line shell.  The resulting inspection shows the linked directories:

F10xx90-2010-05-29-1750-PuTTY-aliases.pngI also confirmed that the linked directories are accessible through their web URLs, http:orcmid.com/mt-static/ and http://orcmid.com/cgi-bin/mt/.

This did not change anything one way or the other, however.  The blogs worked as before, and comments are still not functioning on Spanner Wingnut.  That's because the Movable Type configuration has not been adjusted to reflect these modifications.  I am hoping that is all that is lacking.

To have these new locations be used from pages of blogs implemented on Orcmid's Lair (orcmid.com), I must upload yet-another modified mt-config.cgi file.  This one will restore the domain-relative use of the main paths, as follows:

F10xx89-2010-05-29-1743-mt-config-0.05.png

We still have our fingers and toes crossed ...
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My efforts to have comments working on blogs other than this one have been completely frustrated.

My suspicion is that the JavaScript that deals with comment registration and brings up the registration form is confused by the other blogs being under a different domain.  It is all right to reach the Movable Type code by absolute URIs of the different nfoCentrale anchor-site.  That is apparently not good enough for comment handling.

Plan B involves having each nfoCentrale-anchored add-on domain have its own cgi-bin/mt/ directory, and even mt-static/ directory, for the blogs that are operated under that anchored domain.

Plan B involves magical directory-linking, not by actually duplicating the installation (that being the much-despised Plan C).

The first problem is to learn how this is done in Linux, and to then see if I can actually do it with the privileges I have for manipulating the web-hosting account as the owner of the account.

So, first to hit the books and do some practice in SSH.  Then we'll see if I can make any improvement this way.

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[2010-07-04T21:34Z updated to use blog development categories as part of capturing coherent history of the Movable Type installation and configuration experience.]

At this point, nfoCentrale has one installation of Movable Type.  The idea is to use that one installation to implement all of the blogs operated on the different sites anchored on nfoCentrale.

I'm expecting that to work because all of the anchored sites are actually operated in folders of the single nfoCentrale web-hosting account.

The first blog brought up on nfoCentrale was easy, once I realized that I had to give permissions to the MySQL user account that I gave Movable Type to use.  That is this nfoCentrale Status blog.  It worked easily becaus that blog is situated at the root of the nfoCentrale web site and is in the same domain.

The second blog, Spanner Wingnut's Muddleware Lab, turned out to be a challenge.  There was no styling of the pages and none of the links and buttons that involved Movable Type functions (such as search or leaving a comment) functioned properly.

The difference is that Spanner Wingnut is accessed under the orcmid.com domain, not the nfoCentrale domain.  When I examined the generated pages I discovered that the pages are produced as if the Movable Type software is at orcmid.com/cgi-bin/mt/ and orcmid.com/mt-static.    Apparently, Movable Type uses the domain of the blog location as a way to infer other URLs:  The Trackback link reveals that supposition:

 

F10xx68-2010-05-24-1051-SpannerTrackment.pngThere was other evidence in the broken links to images and other provisions:

F10xx62-2010-05-24-1032-LocationAssumptions.png My prayer was that I would not actually have to replicate the Movable Type installation or do any kind of directory-linking magic.  I trusted that there was some setting that I could find for using the same Movable Type installation from all of the blogs in sites anchored on nfoCentrale.

Fortunately, practically the first setting I stumbled on was the Movable Type CGIPath and what its default is versus what it can be set to have.  Looking at my automatically-produced and minimal mt-config.cgi file, I could see that blog-domain-relative location is indeed the default.

Fingers-crossed, I "commented-out" the generated settings for CGIPath and StaticebPath and substituted the single locations that I want to rule them all:

F10xx79-2010-05-27-2126-mt-config-0.02.pngOnce I uploaded the changed mt-config.cgi to the nfoCentrale  Movable Type installation, and then republished Spanner Wingnut, everything, including trackbacks, worked a great deal better.

I don't seem to have broken anything with this adjustment, and there have been no consequences for nfoCentrale Status posting.

Comments are not working on Spanner Wingnut though.  I suspect this has something to do with the use of cookies as part of that process.  I am going to work on that next.

Once I have the basic operation of Spanner Wingnut in ship-shape, I can start dealing with cosmetic issues, arranging plug-ins, micro-content, and templates the way I want for further operation.  Then it seems that I should be able to use the Movable Type "Clone Blog" function to bring up the remaining nfoCentrale blogs under Movable Type, adjusting the cloning of each one to achieve the different personalities of the blogs.

And then there will be two matters of great interest to me. 

First, being able to use Windows Live Writer for authoring will be much more productive to me.  I must go through the special additions to Live Writer that are needed to accomplish that. 

Finally, though not the least important, the documentation and installation materials for Movable Type recommend several precautions for improving the security of nfoCentrale and its hosting of Movable Type.  I have more to learn before I can reliably accomplish that.

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[2010-07-04T19:13Z cross-posted from Spanner Wingnut to have a consolidated history of the initial migration to Movable Type.  The problem here was corrected by aliasing the cgi-bin/mt/ and mt-static/ into orcmid.com and that seems to do the trick.]

The first effort to inject a Movable Type blog atop the old Spanner Wingnut blog was not entirely successful:

    • I did succeed in getting the blog to publish.
       
    • I failed to have the blog format properly, as if it couldn't find the template and CSS information - I got a raw HTML form of the blog post (see below).
         
    • The MT 4 image and any references to mt-static/ were to orcmid.com/mt-static/ and not the common location that I have established for the blog engine to use for all blogs operated on this single web hosting account.
         
    • The Trackback, Search, and other URLs were to a cig-bin/mt/ also in orcmid.com/ and there was, of course nothing there.

I now have improved on that by editing the mt-config.cgi file to establish absolute locations for the mt-static/ and the cgi-bin/mt/ to be used for all functions. 

There are still some problems.  I have been unsuccessful signing in to leave comments on Spanner Wingnut, for example.  I will need to make some simple tests to see what is and is not working.

Meanwhile, here is what my first effort appeared as:

F10xx60-2010-05-23-1356-WingnutStylingGlitch.png

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[update 2010-05-26 Yesterday, I did determine how to have Spanner Wingnut fully operational.  There is more to be concerned about, but Movable Type configuration should now permit any number of additional blogs in nfoCentrale add-on domains to be created.]

I have had only partial success creating a second blog.  The blog is being produced, but the styles and images are not being located properly. 

This may be a consequence of

    • the incorrect location I had set up at first and had to republish out of, and/or
        
    • the fact that there is reliance on materials that are not in the orcmid.com domain.

I must research this further:

F10xx60-2010-05-23-1356-WingnutStylingGlitch.png


It is time for the next step in cutting-over all nfoCentrale blogs to Movable Type: Adding a Movable-Type overlay to the Spanner Wingnut blog.

This will accomplish two things:

    1. Confirmation that the Movable Type setup can manage blogs that are reached from those domains that are anchored to sub-directories of the nfoCentrale site
        
    2. Verify that my deployment model is sufficient for the changed configuration and that I have the correct setting for directing Movable Type to create the blog in the appropriate place.
This is the fingers-crossed moment.
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The nfoCentrale site is not a web site in the usual way.  It is the anchor site on which all of the other sites I operate are situated.  It is in that way that I speak of those sites as being nfoCentrale sites.

The other sites are maintained as folders within the actual nfoCentrale site.  The anchored sites have their own domain names and they behave as independent sites.  But they are managed as in a single account of an Apache Web Server.  That account has the top level be reached via the nfoCentrale link: http://nfoCentrale.com

Until now it has been unimportant that the other sites, orcmid.com, millennia-antica.com, etc., are implemented as folders in a single web hosting server account that is all of nfoCentrale even though they have their own domain names for their portions of the site. 

If you nose around nfoCentrale, you'll see that the anchor level of the site has been neglected, consisting of many poorly-connected pages that have been borrowed from other of my sites to serve as placeholders.  I was more attentive to the individual anchored web sites and not so much the part that is infrastructure to the others.  That must change.

Now that I am adding software, especially Movable Type, to my web-server account, the organization and maintenance of the anchor becomes more important: It is at the anchor level that the additional software operates.  

This has led to my introduction of a repaving project at nfoCentrale itself.  I also introduced my first Movable Type blog, this one, under nfoCentrale.  

The repaving accomplishes three purposes:

    1. The nfoCentrale site becomes an useful part of the complex as a repository of information that applies to the overall complex.
        
    2. The ad hoc techniques for developing, deploying, and backing-up content, including the blogs, are transformed to consistent, systematic practices that I can handle easily and reliably.
        
    3. It helps confirm that what I provide to manage and organize the sites does not interfere with Movable Type operation. 

This post serves point (3) by ensuring that recent updates have not disturbed the way Movable Type accesses the material it uses at the anchor level.

Once I am satisfied that little bit done to integrate Movable Type into my now-refined nfoCentrale Web Development and Deployment Model, I will take the next step: confirming that I can create a replacement for one of the blogs in an anchored nfoCentrale domain by using the same Movable Type installation.   The guinea pig for this wil be Spanner Wingnut's Muddleware Lab, part of orcmid.com.

This is the first nfoCentrale status post since I upgraded the nfoCentrale site and the supporting deployment model in the last few days.  It's success will confirm that I have not broken anything badly, so far. 


 

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2010-05-11 Centrale LAN Network Center

Image by orcmid via Flickr

In When the Backup is the Failure, I had the ironic experience of it being the backup system that appeared to be weak link in my protection of the Centrale LAN from on-premise outages.

On Monday, May 10, I quickly obtained another battery-backup unit and reconnected it to the network units, including the HP MediaSmart Server with its Windows Home Server system.

The network center is shown with the new battery backup, the WHS, my DSL modem, and the stack consisting of my residential gateway/router, a wireless access point, and a hub for aditional LAN connections.

The idea is to have sustained power on the network so that connections of other computers to the LAN and from there to the Internet or the WHS can complete their operations and shut down in an orderly manner.  The battery-backup indicates that, with the ordinary light load, there is enough power to sustain network and WHS operation for about 90 minutes.

I don't know, at this point, how the other battery-backup failed.  It was an older model and did not provide the visible indicators and self-test capabilities of its replacement.  It may well have been on battery and the battery ran down without being noticed.  That's an odd situation and I suspect that what I will end up doing is removing the batteries and taking them to the municipal disposal and recycling center.  If not, I will have a battery-backup battery backup.

As long as I was replenishing, I also picked up an addition 1 TB drive for the WHS and an external drive for backing up the folders of the WHS off-site.  Those are my next projects for the LAN itself.

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At 21:30 last night I was watching the last episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent Season 4. In the final minutes of the program, there as a high-pitched audible tone.  I thought the audio from the Netflix Online viewing had gone crazy.  But when the episode completed and I had closed my browser, the tone coninued.  Then my computer reported that there was a missing LAN connection, assuming that my LAN was unplugged.

Workspace Improvements: 2009-01-29 Media and N...

Image by orcmid via Flickr

So I'm thinking the scream is a failing hard drive and/or my main desktop computer is having a meltdown.  I run around to the back of my setup and check the cables connecting the machine.  The annoying shrill whistle is continuing though it varies a little and doesn't seem to be quite so loud.

I figure rebooting might help, and I start that.

As I lean back waiting for the reboot to take, I look over and notice that my stack of network devices is all dark.  The router, hub, Wireless Access Point, and Broadband modem are all dark.  Walking over for a closer look I see that my Windows Home Server is shut down and it is the battery-backup unit that I use for the WHS and network units is on "Overload" and that is the source of the high-pitched tone.

I recycle the BBU and the network appears to be coming back up, I restart the Windows Home Server also. 

Then it happens again.  I do some obvious things like test that plugs and connectors are seated, try the circuit breaker on the back of the BBU, but nothing works.  I can move some wires and route power around the BBU, leaving it sitting there unconnected but still howling at me.

The LAN comes up fine without the BBU.  I finally got the refuse-to-die alarm to quiet by holding down the front-panel button for an extended time, then releasing it.  It is sitting quietly dead, unconnected, at this point. 

I wonder whether the BBU had been on battery for some period of time and finally ran out of juice.  Also, there had been some intermittent power hiccups several hours earlier in the day.  I saw the desktop BBU click in and out, and the lights flickered in my office.  I didn't hear anything from the LAN BBU, although I clearly don't even think about that one.  It just sits quietly nearly out of sight, and I pay not attention to it.  Until now.

Meanwhile, I think I will get a replacement unit for this failing APC Back-UPS XS 900.  Another XS 1300 may simply work better, although I don't think I need that much capacity. Then I'll see if this one will recharge (or not). 

All through this, it never occured to me that smoke alarms are similar.  But none of mine sound like that, fortunately. 

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Windows Live Writer

Image via Wikipedia

I attempted to connect from Windows Live Writer and ended up with an invalid logon response.  This may be a conflict with the hosting server and Windows Live not knowing anything special about setting up with Movable Type

I'm not distressed about this.  I gave it a try just to see if the process was automatic.

This is not a high priority just yet.  It will be in a few days after I have dealt with more-important matters in the re-animation of my blogs.

I also took advantage of an available image in the Media Gallery to see how well that works.

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Currently, all blogs but two are locked down. 

Technically, it is not so much that they are locked down as that they have no engine working with them.  The blogs are in the state they were left in when I deleted them from Blogger.  This does mean that some features don't work.  Attempting to leave a comment will fail, for example.

The two blogs thare are operating are

    1. This one, nfoCentrale Status.
        
    2. My blog on Windows Live, Orcmid's Live Hideout
      This one will disappear someday.  I have been lazy in leaving it standing.  There are posts I need to move before I can drop it completely, though.

This blog is the first one brought up under Movable Type.  I am very happy with my experience so far.  I also see opporunity for treating the previously Blogger-generated blogs as continued under Movable Type.  The feature set is very exciting, and I am having great fun learning my way around and customizing this blog.

The browser-hosted Movable Type Create Entry page  is fascinating.  It, and the whole Movable Type dashboard are very useful.   I will still want to use Windows Live Writer for composing posts, but the browser editor is working fine for getting started.

Once I've tired of experimentation here on nfoCentrale Status, I will turn my attention to rescuing Spanner Wingnut.

[updated 2010-05-03T18:02Z As usual, I needed to fix some wording while also adding a category for Orcmid's Live Hideout, all just for completeness.]   

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Welcome to my new blog powered by Movable Type. This is the first post on my blog and was created for me automatically when I finished the installation process. But that is ok, because I will soon be creating posts of my own!


[update 2010-05-03T16:19Z This was an automatic first post as part of making this blog, the first one under newly-installed Movable Type 4.34.  There are a number of things to do before I have exactly what I want.]

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About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from May 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

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